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MIRI's 2014 Summer Matching Challenge

17 Post author: lukeprog 07 August 2014 08:03PM

(Cross-posted from MIRI's blog. MIRI maintains Less Wrong, with generous help from Trike Apps, and much of the core content is written by salaried MIRI staff members.)

Thanks to the generosity of several major donors, every donation made to MIRI between now and August 15th, 2014 will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to a total of $200,000!  

Now is your chance to double your impact while helping us raise up to $400,000 (with matching) to fund our research program.

Corporate matching and monthly giving pledges will count towards the total! Please email malo@intelligence.org if you intend on leveraging corporate matching (check here, to see if your employer will match your donation) or would like to pledge 6 months of monthly donations, so that we can properly account for your contributions towards the fundraiser.

(If you're unfamiliar with our mission, see: Why MIRI?)

Donate Now


Accomplishments Since Our Winter 2013 Fundraiser Launched:

Ongoing Activities You Can Help Support

  • We're writing an overview of the Friendly AI technical agenda (as we see it) so far.
  • We're currently developing and testing several tutorials on different pieces of the Friendly AI technical agenda (tiling agents, modal agents, etc.).
  • We're writing several more papers and reports.
  • We're growing the MIRIx program, largely to grow the pool of people we can plausibly hire as full-time FAI researchers in the next couple years.
  • We're planning, or helping to plan, multiple research workshops, including the May 2015 decision theory workshop at Cambridge University.
  • We're finishing the editing for a book version of Eliezer's Sequences.
  • We're helping to fund further SPARC activity, which provides education and skill-building to elite young math talent, and introduces them to ideas like effective altruism and global catastrophic risks.
  • We're continuing to discuss formal collaboration opportunities with UC Berkeley faculty and development staff.
  • We're helping Nick Bostrom promote his Superintelligence book in the U.S.
  • We're investigating opportunities for supporting Friendly AI research via federal funding sources such as the NSF.

Other projects are still being surveyed for likely cost and impact. See also our mid-2014 strategic plan. We appreciate your support for our work!

Donate now, and seize a better than usual opportunity to move our work forward. If you have questions about donating, please contact Malo Bourgon at (510) 292-8776 or malo@intelligence.org.

 $200,000 of total matching funds has been provided by Jaan Tallinn, Edwin Evans, and Rick Schwall.

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Comments (32)

Comment author: nshepperd 12 August 2014 12:07:02PM 11 points [-]

Student, donated $20. Because I can't afford to not afford it.

Also, apparently your SSL certificate expired last week.

Comment author: lukeprog 12 August 2014 10:04:51PM 2 points [-]


We're working with our host to update the SSL cert; I'm not sure why they're being so slow about it.

Comment author: Ef_Re 10 August 2014 05:34:35PM 10 points [-]

I donated!

Comment author: lukeprog 11 August 2014 06:18:34PM 2 points [-]


Comment author: Adele_L 15 August 2014 12:35:11AM 9 points [-]

Donated $20, and set up an automatic monthly donation.

Comment author: lukeprog 15 August 2014 05:09:42AM 3 points [-]


Comment author: Skeptityke 14 August 2014 10:33:29PM 9 points [-]

When I last looked at the bar, it had 99 donors and ~80k dollars donated, and now it has 104 donors and ~190k dollars donated. From this, I can deduce that somebody donated a whole hell of a lot of money.

Positive reinforcement for the donor! Group approval for the benefactor! High fives and internet hugs all around!

Comment author: lukeprog 15 August 2014 05:10:26AM 2 points [-]


Comment author: Skeptityke 16 August 2014 01:23:22AM 9 points [-]

Just sent 40 bucks your way. Though I am a college student, I decided that I wanted to begin a donation habit so future me is less likely to go "All discretionary income will be used on me personally". Thus, this.

Comment author: lukeprog 16 August 2014 01:58:40AM 2 points [-]

Great, thanks!

Comment author: [deleted] 13 August 2014 07:51:25PM 9 points [-]

I normally donate small sums only due to having a graduate student's monthly income. However, this list of accomplishments satisfies my full set of internal demands from your organization and exceeds my expectations from when I started sending you money, so you're getting more than I usually donate.

On the other hand, this qualifies as giving back the money I was reimbursed for MIRIx Tel-Aviv's lunch and then some. Oh well, ownership is an illusion.

Good job becoming thoroughly professional and beginning what I now expect to be a very fruitful integration with academia and the AGI community.

Now hurry the hell up! We're not getting any younger!

Comment author: lukeprog 14 August 2014 12:03:27AM 3 points [-]


Comment author: ArisKatsaris 13 August 2014 12:31:58AM 9 points [-]

Donated $500, just now.

I'm still mystified regarding why, for a month-long donation drive, you wait until a mere week till the end (when some people may have already left for holidays or something) before you post in LessWrong about it. Such delays have been done in the past too. If you feel this tactic works, fine, but it's sorta sending the wrong signals to me (feels as if it's either not caring enough LessWrong or not caring enough about donations in general), and this summer's drive isn't even half-complete mere days before the end.

Apologies for the grouchiness. Certain family issues of the moment are probably coloring my mood and attitude.

Comment author: lukeprog 13 August 2014 02:56:52AM 8 points [-]


The reason for the LW delay is just so we can get better information on the means by which people are hearing about our fundraising drive. So first we announce it to the blog, wait a few days, then announce it to hpmor, wait a few days, then announce it to the newsletter, wait a few days, then announce it to LW. We could juts as well have put LW at the beginning; maybe we'll do that next time!

Comment author: shminux 13 August 2014 10:47:24PM *  7 points [-]

Tangential: I wonder if CFAR considered using Patreon in the Science or Education category to get subscriptions from patrons. Presumably some of the CFAR output, like videos and posters, counts as art.

Comment author: robot-dreams 12 August 2014 11:40:50PM 9 points [-]

It's cool that you guys accept XRP! I sent you all of my XRP (worth about $500).

Comment author: lukeprog 14 August 2014 01:25:30AM 2 points [-]

Thanks very much!

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 13 August 2014 12:35:45AM 2 points [-]

MIRI had gotten a very large donation some months back in XRP from Jed McCaleb... and a few months after that XRP's value plummeted to a fourth of its earlier value (I think mainly because of something Jed McCaleb did, announced he'd sell/give away all the XRP he had or something) -- so I hope MIRI found the time to sell a good portion of the XRP, as it was planning to do.

Comment author: robot-dreams 13 August 2014 09:23:06PM *  4 points [-]

I hope so too! Also, I donated an additional $500 of actual USD which should hopefully be more stable.

Comment author: philh 12 August 2014 08:48:02PM 9 points [-]

Just donated $320.

Comment author: lukeprog 12 August 2014 10:04:57PM 3 points [-]


Comment author: iceman 08 August 2014 01:30:26AM 25 points [-]

Sent a check for $15,000.

I'm glad to see that publishing the Sequences is being prioritized. LessWrong is, sadly, dying and I'd love to have a published, edited version of Eliezer's original work that I can send to people.

Comment author: lukeprog 08 August 2014 01:39:17AM 8 points [-]

Received it! Thanks!

Yup, we are definitely aiming to have the Sequences book (not titled that) out by the end of the year.

Comment author: Vulture 08 August 2014 02:20:26AM *  1 point [-]

Any hints coming our way as to what the book edition will be titled? :)

Comment author: lukeprog 14 August 2014 12:10:31AM 3 points [-]

After substantial agonizing and market research, we finally settled on:

Rationality, A to Z: Thinking Clearly about Beliefs, Values, and the World

(The posts are re-organized into three "volumes," which correspond roughly to volumes on beliefs, values, and the world.)

Comment author: shminux 14 August 2014 12:57:51AM *  1 point [-]

Bah, I hoped for from AI to Zombies, but I suppose it's close enough.

Comment author: [deleted] 13 August 2014 07:34:13PM 1 point [-]

LessWrong is, sadly, dying

Quite the opposite, in my opinion. To me it looks like it's growing up. The discussions are less and less in the informal style of the Sequences (which were meant to be informal, so that's on-target) and more and more formal.

Comment author: nshepperd 14 August 2014 02:44:48AM 5 points [-]

And yet I see less and less evidence that people are actually reading the sequences, and more that this is being treated as "just another place to talk about your favourite 'philosophical' topics". Well, maybe the comments always sucked, but that's what it seems like to me.

Comment author: Rain 07 August 2014 10:18:54PM 24 points [-]

I pledged to continue donating $1,000 per month.

I also convinced a friend to donate for the first time.

Comment author: lukeprog 07 August 2014 10:53:46PM 2 points [-]

Awesome, thanks!

Comment author: Danny_Hintze 14 August 2014 03:20:03AM 8 points [-]

Donated $100!

Comment author: lukeprog 14 August 2014 06:25:48PM 3 points [-]